recording of Varney the Vampyre Volume 1, by Thomas Preskett Prest.
Originally published as a penny dreadful from 1845 until 1847, when it first appeared in book form, Varney the Vampyre is a forerunner to vampire stories such as Dracula, which it heavily influenced.
Flora Bannersworth is attacked in her own room in the middle of the night, and although her attacker is seemingly shot dead, the body is nowhere to be found. The discovery of two small bite marks on Flora’s neck leads Mr Marchdale, an old friend of the family, to the conclusion that she was bitten by a vampire. While Flora recovers, her brother Henry and Mr Marchdale begin their hunt for the vampire. Their suspicions soon fall on the mysterious Sir Francis Varney, who has just bought an old abbey near Bannersworth Hall, and who bears an uncanny resemblance to Marmaduke Bannersworth, a long-dead ancestor of the family. (Summary by Annika Feilbach)
Note that the original text does not have chapters labeled 41-43. The chapters have been renumbered to be consecutive in this project.
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June 15, 2011
Starts with a bang. Ends with a dud!
This is quite the conundrum. The first handful of chapters were great and kept me enthusiastically listening. Then, IMHO it started to drag. Being a "Penny Dreadful" the author is paid BY THE WORD and each chapter was printed, released, and sold individually in a serial form. I confess I listened to this months ago, but had decided at the time, I was going to do a review... My recollection isn't as sharp as it would be if I had done this in a timely manner...
Being paid by the word, this really demonstrates why this is a poor way to pay a writer. There were chapters that seemed to have virtually no relation to the actual storyline of the main novel. The author had a novel way of using words as he saw fit, regardless of their actual meaning. You might notice other reviews mention 'mangling' the English language... In my opinion, assassinating might be more apropos! There were also some chapters that I would have to assume were written by an inferior hand or possibly by someone on a 'binge' of a mentally debilitating substance of one kind or another. I think the fact that there are supposedly no chapters 124 and 125 indicates that there was some 'bad filler'. I was intrigued by this novel and did a little research and there seemed to by some confusion as to who the actual author was. There was a writer, James Malcolm Rymer, who along with Prest, co-authored Sweeny Todd, the tale of the 'demon barber', and it is now thought that Rymer might have penned "Varney".
"Varney the Vampire" is published as three separate volumes. I got to about the middle of the second volume when I couldn't bear it any more! If we look at the numbers, we see that 18,000 plus downloads for the first volume. 5,300 plus downloads for the second volume, and 1,800 downloads for the third and final volume, which roughly translates into two-thirds of the audience being lost at each succeeding volume.
The hard part comes as to how to rate the first volume. I guess since the majority of the first volume kept my interest I guess I'll give it five stars, though I am tempted to vote four stars because the quality did start to deteriorate after the majority of the content was finished.
I'm going to post this on the second volume also, since all of this applies. My rating for the second volume is going to be two stars since I lost interest and quit listening before the end.
My advice is this: Download and enjoy the first volume. Pass on the rest, though I know many will want to continue. If you disagree, please write a review and straighten me out!